As a sign of gratitude for all the support to Serbia, especially after 2014 floods, Norwegian Ambassador in Belgrade Arne Sannes Bjornstad has become the Honorary Citizen of Belgrade.
It is a long way from being a friend of a city to becoming its honorary citizen. It is usually an unrequited love. Belgrade returned its love to only 30 friends so far, one of whom is Mr. Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Norwegian diplomat and minister.
On September 8, Ambassador Bjornstad joined the group becoming the 31st on the list and the second Norwegian on the list after the City Assembly voted to honour him with the charter.
As a true friend of Serbia and its people, the Ambassador says he is honoured to be awarded the charter. “True friendship is not just about celebrating success together. It is also helping each other when help is needed, and this is what Norway has done. This is a great token of gratitude and friendship to Norway from the people of Belgrade and Serbia.”
Belgrade mayor Siniša Mali said in July that the city of Belgrade wanted to repay to His Excellency for the great assistance of the Kingdom of Norway to Belgrade and Serbia after floods in May 2014, and “to further strengthen the excellent cooperation and friendly relations.”
In May 2014, disastrous floods hit Serbia and especially Obrenovac, causing mass evacuations and great damage. Norway was among the first to jump in and help by allocating four million euros for the reconstruction of damaged schools and public institutions, but also half a million euro to civil society organisations and local self-governments in areas that have been hardest hit by the flooding.
The Sports and Culture Centre in Obrenovac, as the last reconstructed building with Norwegian support, opened its doors to new sports victories, great exhibitions and performances on July 6.